The Hudhud cyclone on the east coast seems to have affected Delhi’s air pollution levels, as predicted on Friday by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology. Fine particulate pollution and carbon monoxide levels have surged.
The average for PM2.5 (fine, respirable particles) in Delhi has gone up from 90 micrograms per cubic metre on Friday to 140 micrograms per cubic metre on Monday. The standard for PM2.5 level is only 60 micrograms per cubic metre. Meanwhile, PM 10 (coarse particles) levels are now at about 225 micrograms per cubic meter, when the standard is only 100 micrograms per cubic metre. On Friday, PM10 levels in Delhi were at an average of about 130 micrograms per cubic metre. Carbon monoxide levels (on an eight-hourly average), too, have gone up from 1.2 PPM on Friday to 2.6 PPM on Monday. The threshold for carbon monoxide is 1.7 PPM.
“The levels are likely to increase further till October 16 according to our models. Delhiites should be prepared for poor air quality this week unless it rains,” said Gufran Beig, chief project scientist, System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). The air from the coastal region is sweeping out the air rich in pollutants and dumping it on the Indo-Gangetic plains which will affect Delhi, too, Beig said.
Delhi Pollution Control Committee that has a real time air quality monitoring system also found a rise in pollution levels. “The levels of PM2.5 and PM10 have been increasing in the last three days. The rise was significant on Sunday when it was about 15% to 20% more than Friday’s readings,” M P George, scientist at DPCC’s air lab, said.